It may seem like I've not been sewing very much or doing anything but in reality these last few months have been incredibly busy, both personally and professionally. For the most part I've been getting my own brand of Sew and Quilt Paper Pieces off the ground! It's been such a long road to get to this point, and I had no idea when I first had the dream do this, it would take so long - or be quite so much work! So you can imagine my relief to see this all coming together now :-)
I began this venture to set up my own EPP brand of shapes because I'm hugely passionate about English Paper Piecing! It's been a real love of mine for some time now and as a shop owner, I was finding it impossible at that time (a couple of years ago?) to source some of the more unusual shapes and sizes. I was able to stock the more well-known shapes/sizes, but I really wanted to have a wide range so I could focus the shop as a 'specialist' in that niche EPP market. So here I am today!
It's taken months and months and MONTHS of organising to make sure I got the product just right and ensure the costs were where I needed them to be. We also had some personal things to take care of like our wedding! and an unexpected family bereavement at the start of the year. So I've been needed outside the crafty/sewing world.
It's still very much a work in progress, so I won't completely bore you with the details here. But to give you an insight, it involved a lot of Excel spreadsheets, percentages, geometry and basically all the maths stuff you could possibly think of, blah. All my worst talents, but somehow managed to get round (oh, perhaps Robin, my finance husband helped with some of that ;-) along with one or two very patronising phone calls from some businessmen I had speak to in order to get this going, because apparently I was "a girl, and sounded young". Ha! I gritted my teeth, and needless to say I didn't deal with them again.
So there's been sleepless nights, tears and the usual anxieties of starting a new business, but of course there's also been excitable happy dances around my computer when things have gone to plan! (I love those!) I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I get an incredible rush when I sell things 'I've made' that have my name on. There has also been some fun stuff to plan like coming up with a packaging design, talking of which - do you approve?
Isn't it the best?! I worked with my girl Millie Wilkins (thanks Millie!) to come up with a new shop logo based on the EPP hexagon star block I wanted, and she came up with the perfect font and a new colour palette after I sent her this amazing quilt for colour inspiration. Perfect, right!
Things are really moving now and we've had a bunch of BIG deliveries arrive with new shapes, and we're still waiting on two more big drops. Along with re-stocks galore of the La Passacaglia paper piece kits! The house has been turned upside down in the process - I'm hopeful some day we might have a separate space for Sew and Quilt activities!? For now we have got ourselves a little more organised around here and getting on top of things, thankfully.
A lot of work and effort is being ploughed in now as I will be exhibiting at the NEC in Birmingham this year for Festival Of Quilts! Yikes! I'm excited, but so nervous I can't even explain. If you're going, please DO stop by my stand at F5, I would be thrilled to meet any blog friends.
I should probably point out in this blog post entitled 'Where I've Been' I should say I've also been 'at work'. As well as running Sew and Quilt, I also have two part-time jobs, so recently I've come to the realisation - I can't do it all, however much I try. I've quickly realised the Sew and Quilt paper pieces is a full-time job in itself. So I'm working on focusing my time on my business and my sewing pursuits now.
At the moment I'm making quilts for some future quilt kits with the Sew and Quilt Paper Pieces to display and sell at the booth. It's my first! quilt show I've ever done as I've always avoided them like the plague because they scare the hell out of me! But no more, I'm giving it a go, then I know I've tried! So here's a sneaky peek (more on these soon!).
Here they are! You can find our growing range of English Paper Pieces - proudly made in England, I should add! :-) in the shop here. If you're on Twitter or Instagram, do share your projects made with our EPP shapes using the hashtag #SewandQuiltPaperPieces I'd love to see them :-)
Wow, you got to the end - thanks for reading! Exciting? Anti-climax? Was my title over-hyped? Did you think I'd been on a very exotic holiday travelling the world? Ha, sorry to disappoint! ;-) Feels good to get this story out there though. Here's to working towards our goals and dreams! Have a great week friends!